Mastering data center decommissioning: A comprehensive guide

Blogs and Articles

In the fast-paced world of data center operations, staying at the forefront of technology innovation requires regular hardware and infrastructure updates.

Steve McQ
Steven McQuade
Senior Product Manager, Asset Lifecycle Management
November 23, 20237 mins
data center decom

As demands for storage, compute power, and advanced technologies like AI and IoT surge, the need for efficient decommissioning becomes paramount. However, data centers hold sensitive information from millions worldwide, heightening the importance of secure and effective decommissioning practices. In this blog, we explore the critical role of data sanitization, transforming infrastructure into a circular model, exceeding security regulations, and optimizing the total cost of ownership.

Unlocking value through circular thinking

Incorporating a circular model into your data center infrastructure is key to adapting to evolving market demands. As data breaches and theft concerns rise, rigorous data sanitization during decommissioning is fundamental. Correctly executed, this practice unearths untapped value in hardware and infrastructure beyond their initial lifecycle, paving the way for more sustainable operations while ensuring compliance. This can be achieved through deliberate efforts to repurpose or remarket equipment after data sanitization.

Trends and challenges

In the era of digital transformation, data centers face a two-fold challenge: the exponential growth of big data and the demand for increased computing power driven by technologies like AI and ML. The sheer volume of data and computations required puts immense pressure on data center managers to optimize efficiency and infrastructure growth. As technology advances and drives equipment refresh, end-of-lifecycle planning must be strategic and comprehensive to navigate the complexities of high-velocity infrastructure while ensuring sustainability.

Efficient decommissioning, given what are often short timelines, hinges on partnering with experts who prioritize security and value. Five essential practices that ensure efficient and secure decommissioning and unlock hidden revenue include:

  1. Agent-based architecture: Employ a data sanitization platform intentionally designed to wipe a large number of drives concurrently, ensuring scalability and saving tremendous amounts of time – from edge computing sites to extensive data centers.
  2. Rigorous asset tracking: Maintain a traceable chain of custody for serialized assets, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards throughout the decommissioning process.
  3. Onsite data wiping: Use certified data sanitization software to wipe drives beyond forensic recovery, mitigating data security risks during transportation.
  4. Customized & efficient logistics: Conduct a comprehensive audit of equipment, efficiently perform wiping, de-installation, collection, removal, and secure onsite/offsite shredding.
  5. Maximizing hardware value: Opt for a holistic decommissioning partner who optimizes total cost of ownership (TCO) and leverages global partner relationships to maximize asset resale value across markets.

How to pick a data center decommissioning partner

When selecting a partner, ask critical questions such as:

  • Experience: What is your experience in data center decommissioning, and can you provide references from previous clients?
  • Approach: What specific processes and methodologies do you follow for data center decommissioning projects?
  • Security & compliance: How do you ensure data security and compliance during the decommissioning process?
  • Certifications: What certifications or standards do you hold related to data center decommissioning and environmental sustainability?
  • Management & sustainability: Can you outline your approach to asset tracking, removal, and disposal, including any environmentally responsible practices?
  • Business continuity: What measures do you take to minimize disruptions to ongoing operations during the decommissioning process?
  • Repurpose & recycling: How do you handle equipment recycling, resale, or responsible disposal, and what is your track record in minimizing environmental impact?
  • Documentation: What documentation and reporting do you provide throughout and after the decommissioning project?
  • Project management: Do you have a dedicated project management team to oversee the entire decommissioning process?

Modern data centers require a strategic approach to decommissioning that goes beyond traditional models. Collaborate with industry experts to optimize hardware lifecycles, ensure secure decommissioning, and navigate the complexities of evolving technology. A circular data center model not only maximizes financial returns but also aligns with sustainability objectives, contributing to the global circular IT hardware industry.

Elevate the power of your work

Get a FREE consultation today!

Get Started